Notes: The 2003 Honda Accord suffers from widespread transmission failure & problems with the stereo backlight failing. We recommend avoiding this model year like the plague.

The transmission begins slipping & eventually has to be replaced, typically soon after 90,000 miles & with a repair cost of over $2,000. Transmission failure has been a huge problem for the Accord & several other Honda models all through the early 2000s model years. Honda extended the transmission warranty to 93 months/109k miles for the 2000-2001 Accord as a class action lawsuit settlement, but owners of other Accord model years with transmission problems are out of luck.

The stereo backlight problem has been an issue since these Accords were only a few years old. Honda eventually issued a recall which covered the repair for 7 years/100k miles, which was nice while it lasted but now that period is over. Honda initially was replacing the entire radio ($800) but eventually began replacing just the PCB which at ~$300 is much cheaper. That sounds like a deal, but keep in mind we're talking about a backlight bulb that costs $2 to fix in most other cars.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,788 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Accord cooling system problems

cooling system problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Honda Accord:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Honda Accord Owner Comments

problem #4

May 302007


  • 35,000 miles


Have had throttle body replaced under manufacturers warranty at approx. 15,000 miles. Car loses power while driving and this could be extremely dangerous if on high way. Several times this has happened to me where A/C system shuts down and blows hot and vehicle cuts power and I nearly was rear -ended as I had to pull over at speed on freeway. Honda does not accept problem but by threatening legal action was able to have them "fix' the system so it won't recur. Am however very dis-satisfied with Honda's clear denial of this issue which one day will cause multiple deaths if no recall is issued as they don't acknowledge issue and find a solution.

- Northridge, CA, USA

problem #3

Feb 202008

Accord 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Ac quit working and took it to dealer. They said that a "pristine" pebble had destroyed the condenser, and that it was not a mechanical error so it was not covered under the warranty. I believe that the number of complaints reported of similar occurrences proves that it is a mechanical error due to poor engineering. Of the placement of the ac condenser. There are huge openings beneath the front bumper that let road debris & rocks in without any protection. The ac condenser is "right there" with a screen or anything to protect it. Besides the ac not working and Honda owners having to shell out 700-800 to get the condenser replaced, the initial impact by a rock to the condenser empties the freon out into the atmosphere!

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 242008

Accord 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,150 miles
Condenser failure-2003 Honda Accord- my wife just informed me the other day the A/C wasn't working. I checked out the relay and it's just fine so I searched on the internet to see if others have had the same issue and came across several postings about the condenser and road debris. Well after looking at the front of the car directly at the condenser I could see that it was pretty well haggard from rocks and other crap. I did notice an area to the upper left side that was wet from a leak, more than likely it is freon. Judging by the mass-open holes in the plastic beneath the bumper, it is no wonder that is was damaged! Honda has a major design flaw going on here and we are all suffering the consequences. This is B.S. that we are stuck footing the bill for a car that is supposed to be the most reliable car on the road.

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 282007

Accord 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
Condensor on my Honda Accord broke because of a rock on the street hitting it and breaking it. This was a design flaw, and I am told it was not covered by my warranty, even though I paid an extra $1200 for an extended warranty. Apparently, this was a common problem with the Honda as I found out while researching on the internet. This should be rectified by Honda - I have never had this problem with any other vehicle.

- Louisville, CO, USA

Not what you are looking for?